One Night Stands for the week of October 24 

Repertory film listings

One-night stands

Reviews by Kelly Vance, Michael Covino, and J. Hoberman

Thu., Oct.25

Killer of Sheep: There are first films like Citizen Kane or Breathless, which, as radically new and fully achieved as they are, unfairly overshadow an entire oeuvre. And then there are first films — perhaps even more radical — that haunt an artist's career not through precocious virtuosity, but because they have an innocence that can never be repeated. This second type includes Charles Burnett's legendary Killer of Sheep, which was finished in 1977 and, despite its enormous critical reputation, didn't get its theatrical release until 2007. Made while Burnett was a 33-year-old grad student at UCLA, Killer of Sheep is a study of social paralysis in South Central Los Angeles a dozen years after the Watts insurrection; its protagonist, Stan, works in an abattoir (hence the title) and is depressed, dreamy, and always worried-looking. The subject matter harks back to the heyday of Italian neorealism, but Burnett uses the film language of experimental documentaries for his urban pastoral — an episodic series of scenes that are sweet, sardonic, deeply sad, and very funny. — J.H. (PFA, 7:30)

Evil Dead 2: Even the dead have nine lives these days. Or at least, so far, two. More horror with Bruce Campbell reprising his exciting role from the original. Also starring Sarah Berry, Dan Hicks, and Kassie Wesley. Directed by Sam Raimi. Written by Raimi and Scott Spiegel (85 min., 1987). (PW, 9:15)

Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Valley girl stakes out new territory in a teen horror comedy that would like to be more satiric but never quite finds its teeth. Interesting supporting cast (including Donald Sutherland as a professor, Rutger Hauer as Dracula, and Paul "Pee-Wee" Reubens as a monster), dull treatment. Director Fran Rubel Kuzui proves it isn't that easy to imitate Wes Craven and Penelope Spheeris, especially at the same time. Written by Joss Whedon, and starring Kristy Swanson and TV sensation Luke Perry. — K.V. (EC, 9:15)

Arab Film Festival: Reel Bad Arabs: How Hollywood Vilifies a People, plus two shorts at this midday screening. (College of Alameda, noon)

Fri., Oct. 26

Bedazzled: Not the 2000 remake starring Brendan Fraser, but the 1977 original, itself a secular take on Goethe's play Faust. With Peter Cook, Dudley Moore, Eleanor Bron, and Raquel Welch (103 min., 1967). (PFA, 7:00)

If...: Lindsay Anderson owes a good deal to Jean Vigo (Zero for Conduct) for both the anarchic spirit and one or two scenes in this story of English public school boys who decide the establishment is for disestablishing. True to form, there's a bit of caning, a whiff of homosexuality, and large doses of righteous indignation from the disillusioned students, leading in this case to a fantasy of revolution. Malcolm McDowell heads the cast, originating the role of Mick Travis, which he continued for Anderson in O Lucky Man! and Brittania Hospital. — K.V. (PFA, 9:05)

Rocky Horror Picture Show: The original 1975 British rock horror spoof, exhibited with a special Halloween twist (95 min.). (EC, midnight)

The Warriors: Gangs on the run in the Big Apple. A refreshingly original angle, too: they're all integrated. Though shot on location in the Bronx, Manhattan, and Brooklyn, this movie may just as well have been shot on Jupiter for all the relation it has to reality. I don't mean to suggest it's surrealistic, either. With Michael Beck, James Remar, and Mercedes Ruehl. Misdirected by Walter Hill (90 min., 1979). — M.C. (PM, midnight)

Canto a lo Poeta: Documentary by María José Calderón about the traditional Chilean singing style called La Paya. (LP, 8:00)

Arab Film Festival: Two shorts and two features at the festival's third East Bay date. (CA, 6:30, 8:00)

Ghostbusters: A winner of a comedy with ghost control experts Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis, and Ernie Hudson teaming up to defend NYC against a growing plague of paranormal occurrences. You name it — The Exorcist, Poltergeist, The Shining, Cat People — this movie zaps it. Perhaps surprisingly, the movie packs some genuine jolts, fantastic special effects, and a wonderful green monster-ghost that slurps down food by the bucketful. Murray is in top deadpan form, while director Ivan Reitman (who also directed Murray in the so-so Meatballs and the better Stripes) keeps the whole show moving right along. But why is the Environmental Impact Agency made the heavy? With Sigourney Weaver as the possessed girlfriend, and Rick Moranis and Annie Potts. Written by Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis. Visual effects by Richard Edlund, cinematography by Laszlo Kovacs (1984). — M.C. (CLC, midnight)

Sat., Oct. 27

It Came From Outer Space: The opening scene of this 3D movie always prompts a collective gasp from the audience: a meteor appears to be hurtling straight at you — indeed, it comes right off the screen and explodes into a million pieces beneath your nose. I think this scene is called "creation," or something. But once humans crawl out of the primordial muck and begin walking upright and speaking lines and acting, the movie's charm evaporates. Alien creatures land outside a small desert town, hole up in a cave, and kidnap people whose bodies they return to town in, but you can't always tell the difference. With Richard Carlson. Based on a Ray Bradbury story. Directed by Jack Arnold (81 min., 1953). — M.C. (PFA, 3:00)

Killer of Sheep: See Thursday. (PFA, 6:30)

Duck, You Sucker: Sergio Leone's elliptical style and good performances from Rod Steiger and James Coburn combine to produce a vastly entertaining film about the aftermath of the Mexican revolution. Coburn, a fugitive from the Irish "trouble," and Steiger, a Mexican bandit, team up to rob a bank and unwillingly become the focus of the counterrevolutionary forces, circa 1920. A marvelous sense of detail and spectacular effects — good fun all the way (154 min., 1971). (PFA, 8:15)

Rocky Horror Picture Show: See Friday. (PW, midnight)

Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein: The comedy team conjures up hilarious results as the two haphazardly cross paths with Count Dracula, the Wolf Man, and Frankenstein in this endearing homage to monster movie flicks. What elevates it a cut above the usual A&C slapstick high jinks are appearances by Bela Lugosi and Lon Chaney Jr., who play it relatively straight in the roles that defined their careers. Chaney, in particular, is not only touching but funny to boot as the tormented soul unable to fend off wolfish impulses every time he gets a moonburn. Unfortunately, Boris Karloff deigned not to appear, but Glenn Strange fills his hobnailed boots quite nicely (83 min., 1948). — V.C. (EC, 6:00)

The Warriors: See Friday. (PM, midnight)

Arab Film Festival: A full day of features and shorts. (CA, 12:15, 3:00, 5:00, 6:30, 8:45)

Sun., Oct. 28

Animation by Naoyuki Tsuji: A collection of work by the acclaimed Japanese animator (70 min.). (PFA, 2:00)

Once Upon a Time in America: The longer version of Spaghetti Western veteran Sergio Leone's film is more coherent and a bit better paced than the butchered commercial release of 1984, but it still fails considerably short of the masterpiece some claim this to be. Joe Pesci, Burt Young, and Treat Williams now appear for about six minutes apiece. (PFA, 3:30)

Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein: See Saturday. (EC, 5:00)

Arab Film Festival: The festival's final East Bay date presents a mix of features and shorts. (CA, 1:30, 3:30, 5:00, 7:00)

Tue., Oct. 30

Alternative Requirements 2007: Bay Area Student Experimental Film Festival: A batch of experimental student films (72 min. total running time). (PFA, 7:30)

Ghostbusters: See Friday. (PW, 9:15)

Fallen Angels: In this gory horror film, the demolition of an old prison uncovers a hundred-year-old crime scene containing the remains of slain children, then unleashes a cast of seven demons. (EC, 9:15)

King Corn: Special sneak preview of a new documentary about this subsidized crop and its role in our food system. With panelists Michael Pollan and Aaron Woolf, plus King Corn stars Ian Cheney and Curtis Ellis. (Hillside Club, 7:30)

Halloween 4 and 5: A double-feature of Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers and Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers, plus two featurettes. (RH, UAEB, BS 7:30)

Wed., Oct. 31

The Last Man on Earth: This 1964 zombie flick stars Vincent Price as the last man on earth, after a vampiric virus to which is immune turns everyone else into the undead. (PFA, 7:30) Budget wine|Sangiovese|Tuscany|Santa Cristina Sangiovese|Centauro Ripano Sangiovese


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